Teaching Customary Measurement: Weight

Weight can be an interesting concept to children. They love to weigh themselves, but they don’t always have a good idea of how much things actually weigh. These activities can give your child a better idea of the relationship between ounces and pounds. It can also help them develop an understanding of the actual weight of common objects.

Compare Objects

Start by having them choose two objects around your house. Let them hold the two objects, either one at a time or one in each hand depending on how big the objects are. Then have them tell you which object is heavier and which is lighter. After they have done this several times, you can choose two objects for them. Have them guess which would be heavier before they actually hold the items.

Pounds and Ounces

Next choose something from your house that weight approximately a pound. (If you have an unopened product from your kitchen that is exactly a pound, I would recommend using that.) Have your child hold the object to get a feel for how much a pound weighs. Finally choose objects from around your house, and have your child estimate whether the object is heavier or lighter than a pound. Once your child has a good idea of the weight and feel of a pound, follow the same procedure with an ounce. You can find an idea of some common items that weigh approximately an ounce here. Activities like these give your children a good working understanding of the two measurements of weight.

Measuring Weight with a Scale

Most of us have a scale laying around our house somewhere. Pull out your scale and let your child weigh anything that can fit on the scale. Your child will have fun weighing their toys, pots and pans, or even themselves. You could practice estimating even more by encouraging them to guess how much the item weighs before measuring the actual weight. If you have a more precise scale such as a kitchen scale, you could have your child weigh 16 of whatever item you chose to represent an ounce. They could then see how close those 16 items come to a pound.

From using a scale to playing guessing games, your child will have fun experimenting with weight. Plus they will be learning at the same time. If you are interested in some more fun customary measurement activities, you can read the previous posts about length and capacity. Do you let your child use your scale to experiment with weight?

Photo by: Tom Magliery

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